A career as an account representative can be very rewarding and lead to several other career paths in the sales industry. If you want to get hired as an account representative, you need to have excellent communication skills and an eye for finding hidden opportunities.
Account representatives, also known as account executives, work with other members of the sales team to create strategies for attracting and maintaining clients. If you are interested in learning how to become an account representative, read on. Our guide includes education, salaries, and job opportunities for account representatives in 2021.
What Is an Account Representative?
An account representative is a sales professional responsible for closing deals with prospective customers and maintaining long-lasting client relationships. The account representative must solve client issues and address concerns about a company’s products or services.
Another responsibility of account representatives is to manage communication channels to all stakeholders regarding a certain product. Account representatives must also keep strict financial records of every sales transaction. They should be communicative people with strong business and organizational skills.
Account Representative Job Description
An account representative creates new networks with potential customers and maintains long-lasting client relationships. The account executive works with the sales development representative to select prospective clients. Then they must close the deals with those potential clients.
To maintain accurate client records, the account representative must audit sales transactions using different types of accounting software. They must make presentations for clients and the sales team to judge their performance and clarify doubts about products and services. You can become a tech sales representative or specialize in another field.
Account Representative Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not publish statistics regarding account representatives. The closest profession tracked by BLS is the manufacturing sales representative, which is similar. The BLS reports that these professionals earn a median salary of $65,420.
The job outlook for sales representatives is at five percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. This is slower than average, but account representatives are still crucial professionals that provide invaluable services to many companies. You can still find a job as an account representative in the current job climate.
Top Reasons to Become an Account Representative in 2021
An account representative is an intermediate-level job that could help you further your career in sales. If you are interested in learning this trade, consider some of the following reasons to become an account sales representative.
- You enjoy the sales process. The most important reason to become an account executive is that you have a passion for sales. Knowing that you enjoy all the tasks related to this job will be a great motivator when you embark on this career path.
- It’ll provide you with career experience. If being an account executive isn’t your ultimate goal, and you’d rather be a sales manager in the future, you should still consider this profession. It’ll help you obtain the experience in sales you need for a bigger role.
- You would like to enhance your communication skills. In this position, you must build relationships with clients. Therefore, you will put your interpersonal skills into practice every day. If you’re interested in becoming a more effective communicator, this might be a good path for you.
- You want to play a bigger role at the company. The sales process plays a huge role in any company’s success. Account representatives are a big part of this success, which can lead to greater job satisfaction.
Account Representative Job Requirements
The requirements for account representatives can vary depending on the needs of different companies. However, most account representatives have a few responsibilities and skills in common. Read below to learn about the most common job requirements for an account representative role.
- High school diploma. Some companies only require you to have a high school diploma for entry-level account executive jobs. However, you may need to have industry experience.
- Work experience. You’ll need several years of previous sales experience to land a job as an account representative. Online courses and sales bootcamps can also supplement your resume.
- Industry training. To become a good salesperson, you must understand the product you’re selling inside and out. This means that you have to familiarize yourself with the industry you want to work in, which can be anything from software to medical equipment.
Types of Account Representative Careers
Account representatives can work in almost any industry because sales agents are in demand at almost every company. For example, you can work in marketing, insurance, or tech. Take a look below at some of the most common careers for account representatives.
Marketing Account Representative
Account representatives typically work in the marketing department and spend most of their days developing strategies to attract and maintain clients. They serve as the main liaison between the clients and the company. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a marketing account representative can go up to $54,000.
Insurance Account Representative
In the insurance industry, account representatives are in charge of closing deals and handling communication with potential and current clients. Sales is a large part of insurance, which means account representatives are in even higher demand here. You can work at an insurance company and help connect people to the insurance they need.
If you want to work in the tech industry, tech sales is an underrated job. You can train in one of the best tech sales bootcamps or learn everything you need to know once you’re in the field. You can sell software, hardware, and everything in between.
Account Representative Meaning: What Does an Account Representative Do?
An account representative has different duties, including finding prospective clients, keeping a financial record of sales transactions, and closing deals with prospective clients. Take a look at the following list to know more about their responsibilities in detail.
An account representative must negotiate with prospective clients about the financial aspects of different products. Once both parties have agreed to a deal, they must create a sales record of the ensuing financial transactions and audit those transactions. This is where finance and business knowledge become important.
Closes Deals with Potential Customers
The account executive sales role involves closing deals with customers. They must develop presentations to sell the products or services and negotiate with clients. Account representatives need to have good communication skills to make successful sales.
Maintains Communication with Current Clients
An account executive sometimes may play the role of a customer service representative. To maintain good communication with clients, they must solve customer complaints and ease their doubts. Sometimes, account representatives might keep in touch with clients for 10 years or more.
Essential Account Representative Skills
To become an account representative, you need organizational, leadership, communication, and team management skills. Other relevant soft skills for this role include showing empathy, multi-tasking, and proficiency in basic financing. Below are some of the most common skills for the account representative job title.
Communication is one of the most relevant soft skills you must have to become an account representative. You will be dealing with clients daily, so you need to be an active listener, show empathy, and be persuasive. This will help you solve customer concerns and attract new customers.
As an account representative, you are responsible for meeting with the sales team to discuss potential strategies to attract and retain new customers. That’s why leadership skills are essential for this job. You should be confident and calm when working with people, especially if a situation becomes tense.
You’ll have a busy schedule in any sales job. Meeting with clients, holding discussions with the sales team, and developing strategies are some of the things you’ll be doing throughout the day. That’s why you’ll need to have time management skills to succeed as an account representative.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Account Representative?
It can take two to four years to become an account representative. A bachelor’s degree will greatly increase your chances of being hired for this position, which takes four years. However, if you have experience in sales but don’t have a degree, you may still be hired.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an Account Representative?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you become an account representative. Many schools like Careerist and Flockjay offer tech sales programs to help you develop indispensable sales skills with a focus on the tech industry. These bootcamps are faster and less expensive than degree programs.
Can I Become an Account Representative from Home?
Yes, you can become an account representative from home. There are many online bootcamp programs and online degree offerings that you can try looking into. Most coding bootcamps offer both in-person and remote courses in case you prefer to study from the comfort of your home.
How to Become an Account Representative: A Step-by-Step Guide
To become an account representative, you must follow certain steps like getting the appropriate training, gaining job experience, and building a strong network. Even though everyone’s experience is different, these are the milestones you should be hitting. Below, you will see each step in detail.
Step 1: Get an Education
The minimum education level required for becoming an account representative is a high school diploma. If you don’t have that, you can also obtain a GED. However, if you want to advance your career, a bachelor’s or associate degree can help you do just that. Figure out your career goals and start your education as soon as you can.
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Step 2: Earn Work Experience
Having job experience is also essential to start a career as an account executive. You can start in entry-level jobs in sales to start building your sales portfolio. Many sales positions don’t require any work experience to start, which means they’re accessible to anyone with decent communication skills.
Step 3: Specialize Your Training
Your main goal as an account representative is to sell a product, so you need to know everything you can about that product. Stand out by specializing in different industries such as health care, technology, or education. Tech sales is a growing field that offers many different job opportunities no matter where you are.
Best Schools and Education for an Account Representative Career
There are different career paths you can pursue to become an account representative. You can study at a vocational school, enroll at a traditional college, or attend a tech bootcamp. Below, we’ll explore every option.
Account Representative Bootcamps
Bootcamps like FlockJay and Careerist offer tech sales programs that could help you build your career in sales and become a sales representative. Online coding bootcamps include career services and coaching to ensure you get a job as soon as you finish your program.
Vocational school is another option you have to obtain training in sales. These programs last up to two years and cost substantially less than traditional colleges. Vocational schools are more common for hands-on trade jobs, but you can still find the odd program for tech topics.
At community colleges, you can earn associate degrees and certificate programs. These provide validation to your skills and demonstrate you are prepared for this role. They are shorter than bachelor’s degree programs, and you can often use your credits towards a higher degree once you graduate.
Account Representative Degrees
Earning a bachelor’s degree in any sales-related discipline will greatly increase your chances of becoming an account representative. You will learn sales fundamentals, the basics of finance, and the legal aspects informing the sales process. This will give you the most comprehensive education in sales.
The Most Important Account Representative Certifications
To become an account representative, you don’t need to hold any specific certifications, but it can be a great way to boost your career. Below, we will show you some of the most common certifications for account representatives.
The Global Inside Sales Association provides this certification. It consists of a training program and a final exam that will measure your sales skills. During the exam, you will go through sales simulations and practices to evaluate your communication and persuasion skills. The exam costs $1,020 for non-members of the association and $875 for members.
The National Association of Sales professionals provides a certification that will demonstrate your sales expertise. It also includes a training program to pass the exam that will help you develop customer-oriented communication. The certification costs $695.
This is an online certification that will help you validate your sales consultancy skills. This certification doesn’t require previous career experience and can be a great asset for you as you pursue a sales job. If you are just starting your career as a sales representative, this certification is a great choice.
How to Prepare for Your Account Representative Job Interview
Before starting the interview, remember that it’s important to showcase your soft skills. Demonstrate that you’re an effective and confident communicator and that you’re well-prepared for the role. Do advance research and consider some of the following potential interview questions.
Account Representative Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are your strategies for engaging clients?
- Do you have any tips you practice when closing deals?
- Who was your most challenging client, and how did you manage the situation?
- What should you do to maintain current clients?
Should I Become an Account Representative in 2021?
Yes, you should become an account representative if you feel passionate about sales, have people skills, and would like to play a huge role in your company’s success. This career requires a lot of time and commitment, but it is worth it if you want to earn a high salary in the sales industry.
Account Representative FAQ
Can You Become an Account Representative Without a Degree?
If you have the appropriate skills and competencies to work in the sales industry, you can become an account representative without a college degree. However, industry experience is usually a must in this case.
Is It Hard to Become an Account Representative?
If you are not used to such a dynamic role, it may be challenging to become an account representative. It requires logical thinking, people skills, and a passion for succeeding in this career.
Is an Account Executive Better Than an Account Manager?
Since both usually require the same level of experience, education, and skills, they’re generally at the same hierarchy level. They could even work closely in the same department.
What Role Level Do Account Representatives Have?
In most companies, the representative account role is an intermediate or senior-level position. This is because they’re responsible for making crucial business decisions with large contracts.
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